Lakers push it to game 7

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Lakers push it to game 7

Post  junkman on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:45 am

Tuesday, June 15th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 89, Boston 67

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - It's down to a winner-take-all Game 7 in the 12th Finals meeting between the two most successful franchises in NBA history.

Pau Gasol narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers forced a deciding contest in the title series with an 89-67 blowout of the Boston Celtics.

Kobe Bryant poured in 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who bounced back from a 92-86 loss in Game 5. Win on Thursday at Staples Center, and the Lakers will become the first repeat champions in the NBA since capturing three straight titles (2000-02).

"The opportunity is not something that makes me happy, it's winning and taking advantage of the opportunity that makes me happy," Bryant said. "That buzzer goes off and we're not victorious, am I thankful for the opportunity? Nope."

Standing in the way though is the franchise with the most titles as Boston guns for its 18th championship and second in three years after polishing off the Lakers in six games in 2008.

Ray Allen led the Celtics with 19 points, but Boston ended 33.3 percent from the floor and went 5-of-23 from three-point range. Paul Pierce netted 13 points and Kevin Garnett 12, while Rajon Rondo scored 10.

The Celtics were dealt a blow in the first quarter by losing starting center Kendrick Perkins to right knee sprain. He didn't play the final three periods.

History is certainly on Boston's side as far as the rivalry goes. The Celtics are 4-0 in Game 7s against the Lakers. The last time the Celtics faced the Lakers in a Game 7 was 1984 with Larry Bird besting Magic Johnson.

This is just the second time since 1994 that the NBA Finals are going to a seventh game. San Antonio beat Detroit in seven contests in 2005. Not since Washington's victory at Seattle in 1978 has a road team won a Game 7 in the NBA Finals.

The 67 points were tied for the second-fewest in NBA Finals history. Utah has the record of 54 against the Bulls in 1998. The Knicks scored 67 against San Antonio in 1999.

Ron Artest had 15 points, while Lamar Odom chipped in eight points and 10 boards as the Lakers dominated the bench play with a 25-13 scoring advantage on Tuesday.

The Celtics gave up 40 points in the paint and were dominated on the glass by a 52-39 count.

"When you outrebound a team like we did tonight, you're giving yourself a huge advantage," Gasol said. "So it's really important that we continue to work extremely hard as a group, as a team on the rebounding because it's just something that you need to control."

More importantly questions remain if Perkins will be able to play in Game 7. He was hurt while going for an offensive rebound with Lakers center Andrew Bynum draped all over him. Perkins landed awkwardly on his right knee, was helped off the floor with 5:30 left in opening quarter and was headed for an x-ray.

"He's one of our guys that I think gives us great spirit, gives us a lot of toughness and gives us size," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I hope he can play. It would be tough if he can't. Somebody else is just going to have to step forward."

Allen's three-pointer provided Boston with a 12-10 lead, but Bryant took over by netting the first six points during an ensuing 8-0 run. Gasol capped it with a fast-break layup, and his inside bucket moved the lead to 28-18 after one period.

It only got worse for the Celtics. Sasha Vujacic drilled a three-pointer from the left wing to start the second quarter and LA's aggressive offense continued to take charge. Gasol ran the floor for a put-back layup with seven minutes left, providing a 40-23 margin. Vujacic added another three and Jordan Farmar rolled in for a breakaway slam after a Gasol steal, making it a 20- point lead.

The Lakers continued to push the ball and played good rotation defense, limiting the Celtics to 2-of-10 shooting from three-point range, on the way to a 51-31 halftime lead. The halftime rebounding margin was 30-13.

The Celtics never got back into the contest and gave up the final eight points of the third quarter for a 76-51 lead. Included in that period was a spectacular one-handed alley-oop jam from LA's Shannon Brown off a feed from Gasol.

By the time the third quarter ended, Rondo had his chin bandaged thanks to an elbow from Artest, and the Celtics showed little fight in the final quarter, never coming closer than 21 points.

"He elbowed me in my chin," Rondo said. "I don't think it was intentional, but it was definitely a foul, one of the fouls that wasn't called. But that's how it goes. You have to still continue to play the game. It didn't affect the way I tried to play. I didn't play much more after. The game was over obviously."

Game Notes

This will be the first time Lakers coach Phil Jackson will coach a Game 7 in the Finals...The Lakers are 10-1 at home this postseason, losing only Game 2 to the Celtics...Boston's Rasheed Wallace missed all seven of his shots, including six from beyond the arc, and was held without a point....It'll be the 17th Game 7 in NBA Finals history...The Celtics previous low in a Finals game was 81 in Game 3 in 2008...This was Jackson's NBA record 224th career playoff win. That moved him ahead of Hockey Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman (223) for the most post-season wins by any coach in the four major professional North American team sports...After three quarters, Lakers' bench had outscored Celtics' reserves, 24-0.

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